Are Flower Mound kids in danger of getting cancers?

SUBSCRIBER CONTENT: Apr 4, 2014, 5:00am CDT

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Jake Dean

The city of Flower Mound has been paying for air monitoring since 2010 and Ireland says it hasn’t detected anything abnormal.

Staff Writer- Dallas Business Journal
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Flower Mound children have a significantly higher risk of developing leukemia and lymphoma, according to a new study that reexamines a so-called cancer cluster in the city.

The study links the cancers to Barnett Shale drilling and fracking activity that’s been going on in the Denton County town for years.

Rachael Rawlins, a senior lecturer and researcher at UT Austin, published the report last week in the Virginia Environmental Law Journal. With her findings, she calls for increased monitoring, more health studies and tougher air regulations around urban drilling.

Not surprisingly, the oil and gas industry pounced on the study, immediately attacking Rawlins’ credibility.

“When someone comes along and comes to a different conclusion than dozens of real scientists came to, that just brings up a lot of red flags to me,” said Ed Ireland, executive director of the industry-funded Barnett Shale Energy Education Council.

Parents have raised concerns about increased health problems in the town for years, but the Texas Department of State Health Services has not found enough evidence. The agency wanted a study with 99 percent certainty to conclude the cluster existed. Rawlins’ used a 95 percent certainty, the norm for scientific studies.

“The reanalysis found, with 95 percent certainty, that rates of childhood leukemia and childhood lymphoma in Flower Mound are significantly higher than expected; there is only a 1 in 20 chance that the difference is random. Texas’ reactive and ultimately inadequate efforts to respond to citizens concerns on the Barnett Shale reflects a continuing need for across-the-board improvements in monitoring, health-based assessment and public communication,” she said.

Do you think natural gas drilling can negatively affect your heath?

Do you think gas drilling, fracking and production in the Barnett Shale can have negative health effects?

No, I think it's been proven safe 49%

Yes, I think it can cause health problems 38%

I'm not sure, I need more information 13%

This survey is not a scientific sampling, but offers a quick view of what readers are thinking.
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Nicholas covers the energy, manufacturing, aviation and transportation beats for the Dallas Business Journal. Subscribe the Energy Inc. newsletter

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